College Basketball Picks: Duke at Florida State Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 1/12/2011
Last week when I was looking ahead in college basketball, I very much thought that Wednesday night’s game was a huge potential trap for top-ranked Duke and likely the Blue Devils’ first loss of the season. I still think that’s possible, but not as strongly as I used to thanks to Florida State’s recent play.
How the Teams Enter
The Blue Devils (15-0, 2-0 ACC) have only been challenged a few times all season and have been atop the polls since the first one of the year was released. This is their best start since 2005-06. And dating to last year, Duke has won 25 games in a row. The school record is 32 straight. Duke did look a bit vulnerable last time out, a 71-64 home win over Maryland on Sunday. The Blue Devils overcame 17 turnovers and 40 percent shooting in the victory.
As noted above, FSU (11-5, 1-1) has gone into a bit of a nosedive, losing two straight and three of four. In back-to-back road losses to Auburn and Virginia Tech, FSU has shot 35 percent and 35.5 percent from the field and hit just 12 of 50 3-pointers in those games.
Duke at Florida State Storylines
While Duke is beating opponents by an average of 26.1 points, its two ACC wins have come by an average of just 9.0 and both of those games were in Durham. Even without star freshman point guard Kyrie Irving, who might be done for the year, the Blue Devils have probably the two best players in the ACC in Nolan Smith (19.5 points per game) and Kyle Singler (17.9). Smith is the only player in the NCAA averaging at least 19.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game for the season.
The Blue Devils have won 14 straight games away from Cameron Indoor Stadium and 27 in a row against unranked teams.
Florida State is led by Chris Singleton, the reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year, who leads FSU in scoring (15.6 points per game), rebounding (8.3) and steals (2.4). He is second in blocked shots (2.1). FSU has faced three ranked teams this year, losing to Florida and Ohio State in Tallahassee and beating Baylor in Hawaii. The Seminoles defense was great in those three games, holding the trio to a combined 34.2 percent from the field and an average of just 58.0 points per game.
The Noles are just 6-30 all-time against Duke, 5-12 at home and have lost five straight in the series. Florida State has defeated the nation's No. 1 ranked team three times in school history. Two of them came over Duke, in 2006 and 2002. Overall FSU has beaten 12 ranked teams at home under Leonard Hamilton.
Duke at Florida State Odds and Key Trends
Duke has opened as an eight-point favorite with the total at 145, according to college basketball odds. Ten of the past 15 meetings in this series have been decided by 10 points or less. Duke is 8-6 ATS this year and 2-0 in true road games. FSU is 4-6-1 ATS and 0-2-1 at home.
The Blue Devils are 0-5 ATS in their past five ACC games dating to last year.
FSU has covered in just four of its past 20 home games.
The ‘under’ is 6-2 in FSU’s past eight home games. The ‘under’ is 11-2 in the past 13 meetings.
The underdog is 9-4 ATS in the past 13 meetings.
College Basketball Picks: Duke at Florida State Predictions
I’m going to stick with my initial reaction on this game and say FSU can pull the upset – but the Seminoles certainly should cover. The Noles are possibly the best defensive team that Duke has seen so far (when FSU is on) and Singleton is one of the nation’s best defenders and will probably lock down Singler. Take FSU and the points as well as the ‘under’.
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